Il Divo Album - Il Divo
|Album Information :|
Review - Product Description :
Debut album by 'opera boyband' put together by the king of manufactured pop, Simon Cowell. This features popular arias, classical crossover pop and opera versions of pop standards - including Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak My Heart' - in much the same vein as Tony Henry, Josh Groban and Amici Forever. Syco. 2004.
Review - Amazon.com :
While not exactly classical crossover's take on The Monkees, this international quartet of young male vocalists from America, France, Spain, and Switzerland shares a similar genesis. Assembled after a long talent search and audition process, they were teamed with pop producers Per Magnusson and David Krueger (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys) and Steve Mac (Charlotte Church, Kelly Clarkson) and turned loose on a slate of classical-pop favorites, with a dramatic, dynamically nuanced read of Toni Braxton's signature "Unbreak My Heart" setting the standard. While the deceptive ease of their harmonies belie the group's disparate nationalities and talent search roots on the melodramatic "Hoy Que Ya No Estas Aqui," Morricone's glorious Mission theme, "Nella Fantasia" and the cascading "Passera," the album's pop-oriented material is a decidedly more mixed bag ."Everytime I Look at You" and "Feelings" (not Morris Albert's) soar gracefully, while "The Man You Love" seems more a throwback to the producers' boy band roots. The standard "My Way" and a lovely, bonus cut Italian version of "Unchained Melody" close the album out on a high note, even if their safe familiarity doesn't offer the promising quartet a sufficient musical challenge. --Jerry McCulley
[NOTE: A DualDisc version including DVD is now available.]
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181 of 196 people found the following review helpful:
- Responses to some unfounded (and uninformed) criticisms
Il Divo's debut CD has subtly bridged the gap between pop and classical but positioning itself in a new musical niche. I won't spend too much time praising the singers' wonderful voices since I think many of the reviews also allude to that.
However, I've noticed that many of the more negative reviews seem to be based on some rather incorrect, inaccurate, or downright ignorant perceptions or conclusions. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to respond to some of these flawed criticisms.
First, many criticisms attack the CD has being a "mockery" of pop music or classical opera. Well, anyone who is familiar with the purpose of Il Divo will realize that the CD was never meant to be pop music nor was it ever presented as classical music. Instead, the purpose of the group was to sing romantic songs using classical vocal techniques. Therefore, those who criticize the CD as being neither pop or opera are missing the whole point.
Second, many chastise that the songs have little variation in style. The CD was meant to really feature a collection of romantic songs, so it's highly unlikely that you'd find much upbeat music here. However, anyone with a good amount of musical training would realize that the 12 tracks on the CD exhibit quite a variation of styles, ranging from aria-type music to ballads, Broadway musical-type songs to straight pop/adult contemporary music. The one common thread that ties them all together is Il Divo's interpretation using classical vocal technique.
Third, a lot of the negative comments focus on the supposed lack of harmony and the observation that it sounded like all four singers were trying to outsing each other. Anyone with any classical music training would understand that in classical vocal music (i.e. opera/oratorio), the interpretation of "harmony" is quite different from that of pop music. If people were looking for pop-like harmonies where all four voices blend seamlessly into each other, they won't find it here. Classical vocal techniques don't really create that type of sound. The harmonies produced by Il Divo are more consistent with the sounds you'd hear in traditional operas (i.e. Verdi, Wagner, etc.).
Fourth, don't compare Il Divo to singers like Josh Groban. That's like comparing oranges to grapefruits. Yes, the type of music that they sing is similar, BUT the method of interpretation is very different. Josh Groban's techique is NOT classical operatic/vocal technique. As a result, Il Divo and Josh Groban are really in two close but different music genres.
Fifth, some reviewers quite ignorantly comment that Il Divo represents a sad decline in American music. Well, guess what? Il Divo does not purport to be singing American music (they're imported from Europe, in case they haven't noticed). And since when did American music become the global standard anyways? Perhaps these reviewers need to open their eyes and ears and realize that there is a much larger musical world beyond the shores of the United States. Europe has a much more developed and vibrant musical scene than the USA and when it comes to genres such as classical music, Europe is much more developed than the United States. There is a reason why Il Divo has done so well in other parts of the world even before arriving in North America.
Sixth, some reviewers suggest that the songs were not written for Il Divo's type of singing. Well, that's why Il Divo is deemed as being daring and innovative. They're taking songs from other genres (e.g. Unbreak My Heart) and reinterpreting them using new techniques. There is no point comparing it to Toni Braxton's interpretation because they are two DIFFERENT works of art. There is no right or wrong here. The same goes for Broadway musicals, which essentially was a reinterpretation of the classical opera. Again, they are two different spheres all together and trying to compare one with the other is rather silly.
Okay, after that discussion, here are some of my general comments about the CD.
1. Some improvement in the production can be strived for. Like some reviewers indicated, some tracks are softer than others, for some odd reason. However, this is a minor glitch and doesn't take anything away from the CD.
2. Il Divo is NOT a "tenor group" or "tenor quartet" as some have been calling them. In fact, Il Divo is really a mix of four very talented but very diverse singers. Carlos Marin is an operatic baritone (reminds me a lot of the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras). David Miller is a classically trained tenor but his voice resembles tenors that you'd hear in Broadway musicals. Urs Buhler is also a clasically-trained tenor but his voice resembles more the traditional opera/oratorio tenor. (Some have said that Urs' voice doesn't resonate and that he sings with no expression. Actually, Urs' voice is best when he is singing in the higher ranges. In the lower ranges, his voice doesn't project as well, which limits how expressive he can sound. But in the higher ranges, his voice is crystal clear and is quite beautiful.) Finally, Sebastien Izambard is a pop singer whose voice is interestingly quite compatible with the other 3 singers.
Overall, a wonderful start for the group. Their next CD should definitely be even better given that the group will have had more time to work with each other and to better understand each member's strengths and weaknesses. Eagerly looking forward to the next release.
322 of 365 people found the following review helpful:
- Il Divo - A musical chocolate bar
Il Divo, Simon Cowell's latest brainchild, was put together through a two year search of singers from around the world. The group is comprised of David Miller (US), Carlos Marin (Spain), Urs Buhler (Switzerland) and Sebastien Izambard (France). David, Carlos and Urs are all classically trained, while Sebastien is self-taught. David was seen on Broadway a couple of years ago in La Boheme. Carlos has done several musicals and operas, notable roles including The Beast in Disney's Beauty & the Beast and Marius in Les Miserables. Sebastien appeared in Le Petit Prince in France.
Their talent is very evident on this album. Whether the lyric is in English, Spanish or Italian, these men have a great ability to express emotion through the songs, especially Carlos. Considering his stage experience, this is not surprising.
Their voices blend well together and it does not sound as if they are competing with each other.
The album is mostly mild ballads, but with varied lyrical content.
Nella Fantasia is about dreaming of a world that is just, where souls fly free .
Passera has a very interesting lyric about how songs help us through pain in life, pain that will pass.
Dentro Un Altro Si speaks of finding love again after a loss.
Regresa A Mi, a Spanish translation of Toni Braxton's UnBreak My Heart, is even better than the original.
The Man You Love is one of the most beautiful tracks, co-written by Steve Mac (Flying Without Wings).
Feelings and My Way are two of the weaker selections. They don't quite have the depth of the majority of the songs.
Unchained Melody (Senza Catene) was added for the US release of the album and it is a pleasant surprise. Rather than just use this song as another overblown ballad, it begins simply with a single voice, Sebastien, and a harp and then progresses into a beautiful crescendo.
The arrangements and orchestrations are lush and a joy to the ears. The album never seems rushed and flows very nicely.
There is nothing musically ground-breaking or astounding about it. It is simply a collection of beautiful songs, sung by beautiful voices.
It is the musical equivalent of a chocolate bar. It is rich and comforting. Sometimes that chocolate bar is infinitely more satisfying than an entire meal.
For those of us who had to import the album for a pretty penny last year, the US release is somewhat bittersweet. But it is great that these talented men are reaching a larger audience. Having already sold over 3,000,000 copies in Europe, they are already a success. American exposure will certainly only further that success.
As dinner background music, roadtrip material or a de-stress tool, this album will be a great addition to any collection.
Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - November 02, 2006
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
- A Winning Concept and A Warmly Sensitive Quartet of Men, Singing!
As a lover of classical music this listener is frequently sent messages to 'try Il Divo' and so somewhat late in the game of their fantastic careers their music finally hits these ears. And what a wonderful surprise it is. If this qualifies as a 'crossover' album then what a treat!.
The group, assembled after a huge media hype by some notable luminaries, is comprised of David Miller (US), Carlos Marin (Spain), Urs Buhler (Switzerland) - all classically trained - and Sebastien Izambard (France) who is self-taught and retains a very likeable voice. They have tremendous sensitivity as a quartet, blending beautifully when called to do so, and bursting forth in solo spots when the songs require it. The vocal sound is very fine and makes for easy listening, the inclusion of some rather dreary sentimental schmaltzy pieces not withstanding.
As lush and beautiful as these men sing this particular recording (their first and this listener has not heard the others) is marred by some of the worst orchestrations on record: one almost wishes for a capella singing, so fine are the vocals and so over-arranged the orchestral accompaniment. But that is a minor complaint when discovering, albeit late, of a fine young group of talented vocalists. Conversion here... Grady Harp, November 06
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
What a blend of vocal music genres with astonishing sounds from four men from four countries singing in different languages!
For regular listeners of classical vocal music who tend to be musically conservative, this will open your eyes and ears. The men of "Il Divo" are, without a doubt, properly trained singers in the classical genres. The quartet applys their trained vocal techniques to certain "pop" sounding passages -- their imitation of "pop-ish" lyricism rivals any singers in the music industry. I my opinion, they are arguably better singers than most "pop" singers whose popularity is supported only by marketing without a true product of talent.
For those listeners whose ears are used to popular commercial vocal music, this album will sound strictly "classical" or "operatic" to you. If you refuse listening to operatic vocal music, this album is not for you -- it may be your subsitutute of sleeping medication. However, if you are musically curious, this is a very interesting album to have -- the sound of "Il Divo" may change your mind about "old school" music.
Enjoy the sea of beautiful harmonic sound of "Il Divo"!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful:
Four young men with extremely powerful voices provide a rich collection of English, Spanish, and Italian music that I--for one--have thoroughly enjoyed.
Some may consider the way they came together as "Il Divo" to be a cheesy revamped version of a Menudo-style boy-band endeavor, and I'll admit, it is a rather "commercialized" way of forming a singing group. I mean this group isn't the Beatles. But neither is it a Menudo remake. Personally, I could care less how they got together; after hearing their debut album, I'm just glad they did!
They come from a variety of countries, and each one brings his own strengths and talent to the group. I can certainly see "why" they were chosen. Aside from the handsome good looks (which is almost a given), the men can sing! Anyone willing to listen can see they put their hearts into the music. I'm glad they did.
Muchas Gracias para la musica, Il Divo.